BOSTON -- After tossing seven scoreless frames in the Red Sox's 4-1 win over the Cardinals in Game 3 of the 2004 World Series at Busch Stadium, Pedro Martinez told the world that he wanted to remain in Boston.
"My heart is with Boston," Martinez said that night, knowing his contract was about to expire. "I consider Boston my house. It's actually my house, but I just hope everything works out OK. The emotions are always going to be there. I'm an emotional player. I'm just going to do whatever possible to remain here."
Looking back, Martinez believes those comments hurt him during offseason negotiations, ultimately forcing him to sign with the Mets when the Red Sox did not match their four-year offer.
"Little did I know that would come back to bite me, because during negotiations, you don't talk about those things," Martinez said Thursday, recalling his talks with Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino. "You give the team of advantage of offering whatever they thought. Even though I was honest later on and I said, 'Lucchino, I got four years from another team, guaranteed all four years. And all I'm asking from you guys is three years, or two years and an option.' And they said, 'Nah.' He said, 'Nah.'
"I took my glasses down and I said, 'Larry, I never lie. I'm telling you, I have four years.' He said, 'Nah, you're trying to trick me.'"
Martinez did have a four-year, $53 million on the table in New York, which he ultimately accepted. He then went 32-23 with a 3.88 ERA over the life of the deal, battling injuries during each of his final three seasons with the Mets.
Compare that to the 117-37 record and 2.52 ERA Martinez posted over seven seasons in Boston, winning two American League Cy Young Awards and finishing in the top four six times. Looking back, Martinez said, he now has an even greater appreciation for those numbers knowing how many of his opponents may have used performance-enhancing substances.
"I don't think I wanted it any other way," Martinez said. "I wanted to be the best. I wanted to take pride on beating everybody else, and doing it the best way possible. I never thought that the steroid scandal would be such a big deal, because all I saw out there was a player that wanted to beat me and I wanted to beat him. I never thought about the steroids and the stuff like that. But even though we were all aware that that was happening, I never saw it as a different challenge.
"Now that I know what the effects were and how you could probably recoup so quickly, maybe I was at a little bit of a disadvantage. But I can only thank God and thank my teammates for the support and everything that we did together, because now my numbers, if they were big, they look bigger.
"The people that never had participated on the steroid use or anything like that can actually today say, proudly, that they had a career. "Some of those guys I'm pretty sure are dealing with the guilt of knowing that they did something dirty to get some advantage."